The many benefits of recruitment make it a highly sought after career, which means when you’re taking your first steps you need to be able to stand out against a lot of competition. When someone’s first impression of you comes from your CV, you need to be sure it’s a strong enough prospect.
We can help you. Luisa Schmielewski, Talent Attraction Specialist at our Cologne Office, looks at recruitment consultant CVs every day. She’s shared her 5 most valuable tips to writing an all-round strong CV, including the aspects she pays special attention to when hiring new recruiters.
Recruiter CV Tip 1: Keep it short
It sounds easier than you think: in fact, keeping your CV nice and short can prove surprisingly difficult. There’s just so much you want to say! But it has been proven that it is better to summarise your CV on 2 pages at the most - even better is a CV on one page. Hiring managers have to sift through lots of CVs to fill a role, and the longer ones can be very unappealing. If your CV saves them time, they’re already in a better mood when reading it.
So how do you manage to keep a CV short if you’ve already built up plenty of relevant experience? Modern CVs don’t need to be kept to traditional A4 pages – simple design packages or online CVs can offer much more leeway in terms of structure. You can reduce certain words or headings through use of icons, or make the most of space by listing different CV sections alongside each other, rather than in a vertical list.
But the best tip for keeping your CV short is to make sure you’re focusing on what is really important. Interests and hobbies can be relevant and interesting to show you fit a particular culture – but this is still best kept comparatively short.
Instead, tailor your CV to the position you are applying for. As a recruitment consultant you’ll want to show experience of sales or recruitment, or if it’s a specialist company demonstrate your knowledge of the sectors they operate in. These are the areas to show more detail, anything that isn’t directly related to the role can be kept as a short bullet point – or left out altogether.
Make sure your CV suits the role and shows off your greatest strengths – particularly anything you hope to develop if you get the job.
Recruiter CV Tip 2: Be individual - but keep a clear structure
Standing out is important and if you want to show off your creativity when putting together your CV, you can get great results. But remember that your creative spark shouldn’t hide the important information the hiring manager will be looking for. You should still try to maintain a clear and understandable CV structure.
Remember: first impressions count, and if the hiring manager has to search for minutes to find or understand information about your experience or qualifications, this will create a negative experience for them, no matter how good your credentials are!
So even if you decide to use a modern CV, it makes sense to keep to a traditional structure: a list of your previous jobs, your education, your relevant skills or knowledge, any other examples of your work. A brief introduction to yourself is welcome – as long as it is not too long and stays relevant to the potential job.
Recruiter CV Tip 3: List your career experience in reverse chronological order
When writing down your previous jobs, it can be tempting to start at the beginning and show how you’ve developed. But your CV isn’t an autobiography – one of the most important things a hiring manager wants to know is what you’ve just been working on. It’s far more useful for them to see your most recent job than your entry into this industry so this is where you should start.
Assume that the hiring manager won’t read to the bottom of the page. That way you can ensure you’re getting the most important information included first. List your experiences in reverse chronological order.
Exactly the same applies to your academic career. A Master’s degree is a far more impressive qualification than your GCSE scores – so that’s what you should mention first. Begin with your highest, most relevant qualification and work your way down.
Recruitment is a great career for university graduates, but it’s important to remember, you don’t need a university degree to be a great recruiter - a good recruitment company will be looking for evidence of relevant transferable skills, a positive work-ethic and mindset, and solution focused attitude more than academic qualifications.
Recruiter CV Tip 4: Don't forget to proofread
So important and so often overlooked. Mistakes are easy to make but they can seriously damage your application. If a hiring manager gets the impression that you don’t care about something like spelling in your CV, how can they know that you’ll provide the necessary attention to detail when helping out clients?
Instead of getting the writing process over with as quickly as possible, give yourself time for a careful read through. The best way is to walk away after you finish writing it and read it back after a short time. It’s much easier to pick up simple mistakes that you may otherwise have overlooked.
Take 10 minutes to check paragraph by paragraph, bullet point by bullet point - not only for spelling and grammar, but also for content. Are you saying everything you want to say? Is your message clear and persuasive?
You want absolute certainty? Another pair of eyes will help you find even the most hidden mistakes: Ask a friend or family member to proofread for you.
Recruiter CV Tip 5: Know your CV inside out
This may sound redundant at first - but often CVs are written down meticulously and in such detail that you lose track of your own career and knowledge. It’s easy to forget what you’ve written in your CV, especially when you’re trying to tailor it to put yourself in the best light. Since your CV will be discussed in the interview and you may be asked more detailed questions about your past jobs or knowledge, you should read it again carefully before the interview to refresh your memory – yes, even if you wrote it yourself.
For example, if you are asked about a gap in your CV - which is not a bad thing - you should be prepared and able to explain it. And if you have missed things out to keep it shorter (see point 1), make sure you’re aware of what you haven’t included in there as well – just in case it comes up.
Follow these tips to create a great CV that will help you secure your dream job in recruitment. Once you’re confident in your CV, find your next job with the Best Recruitment Company To Work For! Contact us here or browse all our UK and US recruitment vacancies here.
We look forward to receiving your CV!